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Choosing a platform, hosting package, and domain name can get overwhelming pretty quickly. It’s hard to keep track of what is what and it all seems to technical. The good news is that the learning curve is pretty easy to get over here.
But one problem that you face before you even get to that point is simply the sheer number of options that you have when it comes to these types of blog hosting services. I have personally used several different hosting companies and have had a mix of experiences with all of them.
I’ll tell you about one in particular that was early on in my blogging journey that almost cost me a LOT of money. Thankfully, I switched to another hosting company pretty quickly and it really saved my butt – or my website’s butt, rather.
Why You Should Avoid Free Blog Hosting
There’s a basic economic theory that is as true for business as anything else in life:
“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
While starting with a “free” hosting platform may sound alluring, it’s often just a guise to get your money later on. Think about it. That company needs to make money somehow or they’d go out of business.
Here’s why not to use them (including non-financial reasons):
- Unwanted Ads – “Nothing better than big ads on a website!” – No One Ever. Many of the free sites put ugly unsightly ads on your website.
- Limited Features – Often, these websites limit common features and offer them only for more money. Very similar to a free app with things you buy once inside.
- Limited Bandwidth and Speed – Much more limited than paid hosting plans.
- Pay Money to Move Your Website – “Got an influx of Pinterest traffic and our server can’t handle it? Great! You can move your blog for a nominal fee!”
- No True Domain Name – Nothing looks less trustworthy to me than an article written by politicaltruths.blogspot.com. With most free hosts, you don’t get a full domain name.
- Customer Support – It’s hard to have great customer support when running free websites. Most of the support for these websites ranges from abysmal to non-existent.
- Much more, but I feel like you’re getting the point…
In other words, free hosting is not for you want these things:
- A fast website
- Great, helpful customer service.
- Full control over how your blog looks without paying extra
- The ability to get a large audience to your website
- No unsolicited ads
- Your own domain name
- A successful blog
(That encompasses pretty much everyone).
The bottom line is that free hosting plans are more for hobby bloggers — not people looking to turn their blog into a full-time, money-making business.
Before I talk about which hosting plan you SHOULD use, let’s first talk about which platform you should be using.
Different platforms come with different options for hosting plans. When it comes to websites that contain a lot of article content (blogs), WordPress is really the only platform you should use.
You can read more about blogging platforms in this article.
Below, I’ve listed a few of the more important reasons why tens of millions of bloggers and website owners choose to use WordPress.
1. It’s the most powerful platform on the market.
As your blog grows, you are going to want certain features and added capabilities to support your blog growth.
WordPress, by far, has the widest selection of add-on features, tools, plugins, and other software to help you with everything from page speed to traffic to monetization.
Most people who don’t start with WordPress usually (inevitably) run into this problem at some point: Squarespace and Wix users will hear about a cool new plugin through an online tutorial that will help them do something awesome for their blog…
Only to realize that it’s only available for WordPress.
It sucks but is likely going to happen if you go elsewhere.
2. You’ll have access to TONS of resources.
Because millions of bloggers use WordPress, support forums and free WordPress training are beyond abundant on YouTube and other platforms.
When you buy online courses for blogging or research any online tutorials for various blogging-related help topics online, you’ll almost always come across quick fixes that involve downloading a WordPress plugin.
I know for a fact that there are tons of plugins recommended for these common issues:
- Page speed
- Image optimization
- Pinterest traffic
- Comment management
- Contact forms
- Search engine optimization (for Google traffic)
- Social media
And soooo much more!
There are new and easy-to-use resources that are added and updated ALL the time! Check out our article on the best plugins for blogs for some of our favorite tools and resources.
3. It’s what most six-figure websites are using.
It’s what most content-based websites are using, especially because of the access to customizations and resources that I just described above. If you look at any really successful websites out there, I guarantee you they are using some version of WordPress.
The people using Wix and Squarespace are the ones that are running different types of businesses like hair salons, dentist offices, etc. Not content-based businesses.
Top 4 Blog Hosting Sites Rated and Reviewed From Experience
I have personally used all of these hosting companies for various websites in the past. Below is a brief review of each based on our experiences at Create and Go.
Host Gator: I spent a good amount of time using this service at the beginning of my journey with online entrepreneurship. I found the site speed particularly slow and everything quite overrated. 3.5/5
WP Engine: The service is good, but the backend is a little more complex than it needs to be. For a beginner, this can be a real time-sink. 4/5
Siteground: The service was fine until it wasn’t. They wanted an extra $300/month to handle an unexpected influx of traffic. I was able to get a WAY better price elsewhere to handle the same amount of traffic. I’ve also just generally not had great customer service experiences with Siteground. 3/5
Bluehost: This is by far the best and most reliable service we have used (and somehow also the most affordable). It’s easy to use and set up and the customer support is GREAT! 5/5
Why Bluehost is the Best Hosting Company for New Bloggers
Bluehost is what I have personally used to take two different websites to six figures. I’ve worked with them for a long time and even met some of their team in Austin. I have nothing but awesome things to say about them.
That being said, I do want to give you the full and honest truth. While I still use Bluehost to run several websites, I have upgraded to more powerful (and expensive) hosting on some sites over time.
But that doesn’t mean that you need to do this too. In fact, I don’t recommend it. Do you want to pay over $100/month for hosting? I didn’t think so.
You’re probably a long way off from that and I’m not going to recommend anything that expensive to you right now because you don’t need it right now. Save money where you can when you can!
Bluehost is still Create and Go’s #1 recommendation for new website owners and bloggers, and I’m going to tell you exactly why below.
1. Bluehost is there for you (24/7).
My first website started crashing every day for a while. Every evening when there were higher amounts of traffic to our website, it would basically blow up for an hour.
That was fun.
Translation: lost readers, subscribers, and sales.
I called the hosting company and asked what the heck was going on. They said that my plan was too cheap to handle the higher bandwidth of users trying to access our site at once.
That’s understandable… More traffic is a good thing, right?
But they wanted me to pay an extra couple hundred dollars a month to upgrade…
I’m sorry, WHAT!? I couldn’t afford that at the time. So, I was forced to look into other options.
I came across Bluehost and decided to give them a call. I explained everything that was going wrong. They walked me through everything that was happening, why it was happening, assuring me they could fix it, and I ended up signing up for their service that night.
From there, I didn’t have any issues anymore.
Your hosting provider matters, y’all. You don’t want to set everything up just to switch to a new plan six months later. It’s a hassle, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
2. Bluehost is super affordable for business owners on a budget.
First of all, it’s super affordable — one of the most affordable plans out there. You can get started with Bluehost for as low as $2.75/month with our affiliate discount.
This is one of the cheapest plans out there, and you don’t need anything more expensive in the beginning.
3. It’s incredibly easy to get started and set up.
Setting up your first website can be a bit technical and overwhelming at times, but Bluehost offers a one-click install that will also set up WordPress on your new site!
You can watch the process to get started on this video from our YouTube channel:
If videos aren’t your thing, you can also get started with our written step-by-step tutorial here.
4. They have awesome, 24-hour customer support.
There will undoubtedly be something that comes up that you’ll need to contact support for. It’s unavoidable and to be expected. But Bluehost has 24/7 customer support both through online chat or on the phone.
I prefer the online chat system because I travel a lot and generally hate speaking on the phone, but the important thing is that you can communicate with them in whichever way you prefer.
They’ll help you fix any problem or issue you come across!
5. You can have unlimited domain names, blogs, and email addresses.
Your basic hosting plan comes with a free domain name with Bluehost.
You can also upgrade to other plans (for just a couple more dollars per month) that allow you to have multiple domain names and blogs. This is what we have on our Bluehost plan because we have multiple websites hosted through it.
6. It’s easy to create your own customized email addresses for your domain.
This is really great because it’s not super easy to do with some hosting companies. A domain email address is simply a custom email address that includes your domain name.
i.e. The email that we use for our customer service on Create and Go is “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
You can create multiple domain addresses for various team members or areas of your business, including customer service, sales, admin help, etc.
You can do this within just a few minutes with Bluehost, and you can always reach out to their customer service team if you have any issues. They also have help articles that will walk you through the process.
WordPress + Bluehost are a match made in Heaven.
Here’s exactly how you can take action today and get started!
Step 2. Open our post on How to Start a Blog (opens in a new window), and we will walk you through every step.
If you enjoyed this article on blog hosting or have any questions for us, please leave them in the comment section below! We’d love to hear from you!